A long-dormant California town that 4,000 employees of Kaiser Steel called home sold for $22.5 million April 1, according to an SFGate report.
The steel company shuttered the iron ore mine in 1983 because of steadily declining domestic steel industry losses. Aside from occasional film crews shooting movie scenes, the once bustling town remained vacant.
The Daily Mail further reported:
A ghost town in California’s desert has been purchased by a mysterious buyer for a cool $22.5million.
Eagle Mountain, a once-thriving community that sits on the border of California’s Joshua Tree National Park, was recently purchased by a company named Ecology Mountain Holdings.
Not much public information is out there about the company, aside from its Cerritos, California, business address.
According to SFGATE, the company is associated with Ecology Transportation Services, a company known for its red big rigs – the front part of a tractor-trailer.
The town was purchased from a company in Ontario, California, called Eagle Mountain Acquisition LLC, which was apparently the last of various Kaiser subsidiaries to own the town in the last 40 years.
Eagle Mountain was last a thriving company town in 1983, when the bulk of the area’s population worked for the Kaiser Steel mine.
The once-prosperous town was a bustling community with homes, businesses and a high school.
The decline of Eagle Mountain began in the 1970s with staffing cuts at Kaiser that eventually led to its closure four-decades ago.
Following the mine’s decline, Eagle Mountain became home to a doomed low-security prison called the Eagle Mountain Community Correctional Facility, which opened in 1988.
The town’s former bowling alley, café and other buildings housed 438 inmates who were serving time for parole violations and other nonviolent offenses.
The private prison promoted career development for inmates and reducing recidivism rates. In 1992, the Press-Enterprise wrote of the prison that it brought ‘a ghost town back to life.’
In October 2003, a riot occurred while inmates watched the World Series in the prison’s recreation room. Two inmates died and eight were later charged with murder.
One possible hint about who purchased the town and what the plans for it are is that in 2021, trucking mogul Balwinder S. Wraich bought up more than 1,000 acres of Desert Center – a town that shares a road with Eagle Mountain.
Wraich co-operates the company Wraich Transport in nearby Fontana and has previously elucidated his plan for the area.
‘We’re going to develop a truck stop, gas station and hotel,’ he told SFGATE.
‘There’s no food for 40 miles. My goal is to get something big in the next two years. It’s going to help the community.’
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